DALnet Ready to Cut Off File Sharing

by Thor Olavsrud

The IRC network says that effective March 1, it will no longer support channels dedicated to file sharing.

DALnet, once one of the largest Internet Relay Chat networks on the Internet, is moving to say 'no' to file sharing.

The IRC network, which has been ravaged by a sustained distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, said it will change its Acceptable Use Policy on March 1. The change will prohibit "using a channel for the primary purpose of facilitating the transfer of files."

Before the days of Napster and other file sharing networks, file traders often used IRC networks as a way to find each other, and many still do. Warez , or pirated software, are among the most actively traded files on IRC networks, as are tools for scripting viruses.

"DALnet is by its very nature a Chat Network," DALnet said in a statement Monday. "Its purpose is for people around the world to join together in channels and converse about subjects of their choosing. New technologies have sprung forth since the birth of DALnet back in 1994. Programs such as KaZaA and Napster have generated a desire for Internet users to freely transfer files. They have also generated a large amount of controversy regarding the legality of doing so. DALnet is not, nor does it wish to be thought of as file sharing network."

However, the network will not axe file sharing completely. "This is not about the occasional transfer of a file between people who otherwise are using DALnet to chat," the network said. "This is about setting up channels as a means to facilitate the transfer of files."

The network, which is run by volunteers with donated equipment and bandwidth, said the decision to curb channels dedicated to file sharing was an internal one. It said the decision has nothing to do with pressure from organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which is currently making waves in a legal battle with Verizon Communications , and has made no bones about its willingness to unleash its legal guns on others who enable file sharing.

"This is a completely internal decision," DALnet said. "DALnet values its resources and the donated time, bandwidth, and equipment that it receives. DALnet wishes to ensure that those resources are used for their original purposes, to sustain a network where people can chat with other people. This is an effort to reduce the wasting of those resources on other activities."

This article was originally published on Tuesday Feb 4th 2003
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